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Bryan Caplan: December 2016

An Author Archive by Month (11 entries)

I Dream of Repentance

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Since the election, several people have privately asked me, "Well, whatever you think about Trump, don't you at least enjoy the attendant outrage of the left?  At least that must make you happy, right?"  In my misanthropic youth, the answer... MORE

Easy Answer All My Students Should Know

Economic Education
Bryan Caplan
Last week, I presented a question almost all my Public Choice students have trouble answering:Suppose voters were rational [in the Rational Expectations sense] and the SIVH [Self-Interested Voter Hypothesis] were true. T, F, and Explain: Democracies would spend a higher... MORE

Orange Rocks and the Minimum Wage

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
I've long been deeply suspicious of contrarian research that purports to show that the minimum wage doesn't decrease low-skilled employment.  But Don Boudreaux explains my suspicion far better than I could:Has any science ever devoted so much time, effort, and... MORE

Many a Slip

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Another reason why I think I win my bets so consistently: I take seriously the old proverb, "There's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip."  When I bet that "X won't officially happen by date Y," I'm not merely thinking,... MORE

National Origin as Nurture Effect

Family Economics
Bryan Caplan
Abundant adoption and twin studies find minimal long-run nurture effects.  In plain language: The family that raises you has little effect on your adult outcomes.  A key caveat, though, is that almost all of these studies come from the First... MORE

Easy Question Almost All My Public Choice Students Miss

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
A recurring final exam question for my undergraduate Public Choice class:Suppose voters were rational [in the Rational Expectations sense] and the SIVH [Self-Interested Voter Hypothesis] were true. T, F, and Explain: Democracies would spend a higher share of their budgets... MORE

Kahan and the Politically Motivated Reasoning Paradigm

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Gary Lucas, rising star of Behavioral Public Choice, turned me on to the work of psychologist Dan Kahan.  Highlights from Kahan's review article on the "Politically Motivated Reasoning Paradigm", or PMRP:Citizens divided over the relative weight of "liberty" and "equality"... MORE

Conversion: The Quantity/Quality Trade-off

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Confession: Whenever I write, I'm looking for converts.  I don't just want to share some information.  I want to change how my readers think - and how they see themselves.When I read other proselytizing thinkers, however, I cringe.  I cringe... MORE

Three Themes of the Niskanen Center

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
The Niskanen Center has been an engine of idea creation since its foundation in 2014.  I know many of its scholars well.  But I'm still trying to figure out Niskanen's fundamental goal.  Perhaps I'm obtuse, but I detect three distinct... MORE

The Dumbest Thing Batman Ever Said

Behavioral Economics and Rationality
Bryan Caplan
Batman v. Superman: The Dawn of Justice isn't a great movie, but it does have one great teaching moment.  Batman is trying to get his hands on some Kryptonite.  Faithful butler Alfred wants to know why.  Batman's rationale:Batman: He [Superman]... MORE

Borjas, Ideology, and #ForeignLivesMatter

Cost-benefit Analysis
Bryan Caplan
Shikha Dalmia and George Borjas' immigration debate in Reason manages to be intriguing and aggravating at the same time.  For me, the highlights are when Borjas leaves technical economics and lays his ideological cards on the table.  Borjas is in... MORE

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